Meet Our Pack

Meet Our Pack


Dr. Margaret E. GruenDVM, MVPH, PhD, DACVB, Fear Free Certified

Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine

Dr. Gruen completed her veterinary degree at the University of Illinois. She came to North Carolina State University for an internship followed by a residency in veterinary behavior. She completed a Masters in Veterinary Public Health and became a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. After a few years on the faculty at NC State, she decided to pursue a PhD with a focus on understanding the behaviors associated with pain in cats with naturally-occurring arthritis. She then spent two years at Duke University, where she co-directed the Canine Cognition Center, and has now returned to North Carolina State University as an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine.

  • Click on the link below to view Dr. Gruen’s ORCID Bibliography:
Publications - Dr. Margaret E. Gruen

Spontaneous Animal Disease Models

Human-Animal Interaction; Pain Management; Cognition and Ageing

– Comparative Pain Research and Education Center (CPREC)
– International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)
– International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

– Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB)
– Fear Free Certification


Beth Case, MSc

Research Assistant

Beth received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Davis and Elkins College and her Master of Science in Zoology from NC State University. She has extensive experience managing clinical studies in cancer treatment, pain management and behavior. In her free time, she enjoys painting, traveling and hiking with her dog.


Kara Moore, MSc

Research Assistant

Kara received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bates College and her Master of Science in Marine Sciences from UC-Santa Cruz. She is excited to begin working on our puppy cognition study in partnership with Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, which aligns with her past research experience in animal behavior. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and boating.


Hope Woods, BA

Research Assistant

Hope received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology & Psychology from Catawba College in 2018 and is also a current graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree at NC State University. With a hand in many aspects of the research process with The Thinking Pets Program, Hope’s academic interests align with the fields of biopsychology, animal behavior, and behavioral medicine. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, hiking, and spending time with her two high-energy pups.


Rachel Park, MSc

Graduate Research Associate

Rachel is currently pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Gruen and Dr. Kenneth Royal at North Carolina State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Rachel is investigating whether there are breed differences in dog sensitivity thresholds, as well as the perception and education related to pain in veterinary medicine. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Rachel completed her BSc in Psychology with a Minor in Human-Animal Interactions at The Ohio State University where she contributed to a variety of welfare focused projects across species including dairy cattle, broilers, sheep and swine. From there, she earned her Master of Science in Animal Science from Texas A&M University. Her thesis project examined the impact of environmental enrichment on feedlot cattle behavior, productivity and physiology. In addition to her commitments at the University, Rachel serves as a third-party auditor for Certified Humane, a national non-profit organization created to improve the lives of farm animals by conducting inspections on-farm, and evaluates laying hen operations.


Our Pack Alumni


Summer Veterinary Scholars

Gabriella Zayas Santiago, 2021 Katie Kurtz, 2020 Jackie Blake, 2019
Megan Carson, 2019 Kylie Grady, 2019 Irina Perdew, 2019